When it comes to product design no one wants to design a mediocre product—we all strive for excellence. However, great product design isn’t as quick or easy as it may seem. When you look at a product that has been thoughtfully designed, you intrinsically know how to hold it and use it. Apple is one company we can all admire for great product design. With Apple products there are limited buttons, products are user-friendly, and the minimalist design means the products are easy to use. On the other side, poor product design leaves you confused and wondering why you made this purchase.
If you are an inventor or entrepreneur jumping into the consumer market arena, keep these two factors in mind when it comes to designing an exceptional product.
As defined by the Interaction Design Foundation: User-centered design is an iterative process that focuses on an understanding of the users and their context in all stages of design and development.
Products designed using the user-centered design approach rely on investigative methods of research (i.e. talking with potential customers and gathering feedback) coupled with prototype iterations. This feedback and prototype loop allows you to thoroughly test your product’s fit, form and function before moving on to manufacturing.
User-centered design is not only about making one good product. It’s about making something good for many people. (Koos Looijesteijn)
Four Ways that User-Centered Design Pays Off:
- With close user involvement, products are more likely to meet users’ expectations and requirements. This leads to increased sales and lower costs incurred by customer services.
- Systems designers tailor products for people in specific contexts and with specific tasks, thereby reducing the chances of situations with a high risk of human error arising. UCD leads to safer products.
- Putting designers in close contact with users means a deeper sense of empathy emerges. This is essential in creating ethical designs that respect privacy and the quality of life.
- By focusing on all users of a product, designers can recognize the diversity of cultures and human values through UCD – a step in the right direction towards creating sustainable businesses.
(This list is from David Benyon, Professor with over 25 years of experience in the field of HCI)
Great product design utilizes this user-centered design process, where the final design is more of an evolution. You have found out what works well along with what doesn’t meet your customers’ needs and your product is now ready for manufacturing.
Design for Manufacturing (DFM)
Design for Manufacturing or Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is the optimization of a part, product, or component’s design, to create it cheaper and more easily. DFM involves efficiently designing or engineering an object, generally during the product design stage, when it is easier and less expensive to do so, to reduce manufacturing costs. (TWI)
70% of the manufacturing costs of a product derive from design decisions made in the early design stages. (TWI)
When you design your product using this methodology it will shorten the manufacturing phase or product development while simultaneously reducing your manufacturing costs. When you are able to efficiently design and manufacture your product at a reduced rate, it is then possible to pass these savings on to your customers as well. “DFM is vital for efficiency, speed, and high rates of production. It is thought that approximately 70% of the manufacturing costs of a product derive from design decisions made in the early design stages, such as materials used or method of manufacturing. DFM therefore has great cost-reduction capabilities.” (TWI)
The top advantages of DFM include: speed to market, shortened product development timeline, reduced manufacturing material waste, catches any mistakes early-on, lower production costs, reduced assembly steps and a higher quality product.
Great product design doesn’t just happen, it is a process.
Our team is skilled in user-centered design, design for manufacturing and knows what it takes to successfully develop a product. Have additional product development questions? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.